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NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics Committee
The Aeronautics Committee advises the NASA Administrator through the NASA Advisory Council on strategic plans, programs, policies and other matters pertinent to the Agency's responsibilities for aeronautics research and development. Its advice spans basic research and technology applicable to all areas of aviation that are under the purview of the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. These areas include but are not limited to commercial air transportation, advanced air vehicles, aviation safety, and air transportation system technology research, development, and demonstration.

The Aeronautics Committee meets in advance of the meetings of the full NASA Advisory Council. Meetings are open to the public and are announced on this website, as well as in the Federal Register. The Committee's members are appointed by the NASA Administrator and represent a balance of broad technical and customer expertise with members from industry, academia, and professional organizations. Committee members are appointed for two years.

+ Meet the NASA Advisory Council Aeronautics Committee:
Point of Contact for the Aeronautics Committee: Ms. Irma Rodriguez, Executive Secretary

Ms. Marion Blakey, Chair
Marion C. Blakey joined Rolls-Royce North America Inc. (RRNA) in 2015 as President and Chief Executive Officer. In this role, Blakey also serves as Chairman of the Rolls-Royce North America Holdings Inc. Board. Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, Blakey served in various senior executive roles including; President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA), Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Born in Gadsden, Ala., Blakey received her bachelor's degree with honors in international studies from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a fellow in the Royal Aeronautical Society and has received numerous honorary degrees and awards, including the National Aeronautic Association’s Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy in 2013.

Mr. John Borghese, Vice-Chair
Mr. Borghese is vice president of the Rockwell Collins Advanced Technology Center. He leads the Center in the development of high-assurance systems for both safety-critical avionics and security-critical communications. Over the course of his career, Borghese has held positions in general and program management, business development, and engineering. Previous posts include that of president of Kaiser Electronics, as well as director of the automatic test systems and avionics systems business at Allied-Signal Guidance and Control Systems. A native of Columbus, Ohio, Borghese is a private pilot, a member of the Air Transport Committee of the Aerospace Industries Association, and is on the industrial executive board for the National Science Foundation’s cyber/physical systems initiative. He earned a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Southern California and a master’s degree in business administration from Boston University.

Dr. John-Paul Clarke
Dr. Clarke is an associate professor in the School of Aerospace Engineering and the director of the Air Transportation Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research and teaching address issues of optimization and robustness in aircraft and airline operations, air traffic management, and the environmental impact of aviation. Clarke serves on several national and international committees, including the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board of the National Academies, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Research Engineering and Development Advisory Committee, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Air Transportation Systems Technical Committee, and the Society of Automotive Engineers Aircraft Noise Committee. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a faculty member there before moving to Georgia Tech. Clarke has also been a researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a visiting scholar at the Boeing Company.

Dr. Mary (Missy) Cummings
Professor Cummings is the director of Humans and Autonomy Lab and an associate professor in the Duke University Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, the Duke Institute of Brain Sciences, and the Duke Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. She is also an affiliate professor with the University of Washington’s Aeronautics and Astronautics Department. She recently joined the Duke University faculty from MIT, where she co-founded the MIT Humans in Automation Lab. A naval officer and military pilot from 1988-1999, she was one of the U.S. Navy's first female fighter pilots, flying the F/A-18 Hornet. Her book, Hornet's Nest, recounts her experience with discrimination and hostility as one of the first women in the fighter community.

She has become a prominent spokesperson for unmanned systems, and has made appearances on The Daily Show, the Colbert Report, CBS’s 60 Minutes and the National Geographic channel. She was also featured in PBS’s "Rise of the Drones" episode of "Nova."

She received her B.S. in Mathematics from the US Naval Academy in 1988, her M.S. in Space Systems Engineering from the Naval Postgraduate School in 1994, and her Ph.D. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2004. Area(s) of expertise: human supervisory control, human-unmanned vehicle interaction, human-autonomous system collaboration, human-robot interaction, human-systems engineering, and the ethical and social impact of technology.

Dr. Michael S. Francis
Dr. Francis is chief of advanced programs and a senior fellow at the United Technologies Research Center. His current focus is on developing capabilities and major program initiatives in autonomous and intelligent systems. Francis also leads Sikorsky Aircraft’s efforts in autonomous systems development. He has held executive positions at Lockheed Martin, General Atomics and Athena Technologies. Prior posts at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) were as director of the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems Office and as the DARPA director’s senior advisor for aeronautical matters. Francis holds undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado. He is a fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and founder of its Unmanned Systems Program Committee.

Mr. Stephen Morford
Mr. Morford is responsible for the functional integration of engine systems for Pratt & Whitney's large commercial, military, and power systems products. This includes engine cycle definition, performance & operability, aerodynamic and thermal design of gaspath and secondary air system components; engine emissions and noise characteristics; control & diagnostic systems, and prognostics & engine health monitoring. Morford joined Pratt & Whitney in 1986 as a combustion engineer. He's held positions in the areas of combustion systems, inlet and exhaust nozzle design, engine-airframe integration, acoustics & aeromechanics, and served as director of aerodynamics. He holds degrees in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Clarkson University and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Morford has twice been awarded United Technologies George Mead Medal for outstanding engineering achievement. He also received Aviation Weeks' Laureate award in Aeronautics/ Propulsion for the development of the PW1000G Geared TurboFanTM engine. Additionally, he’s been a recipient of the ASME Hartford Section Distinguished Engineer of The Year award.

Dr. Lui Sha
Professor Lui Sha graduated with Ph.D. from Carnegie-Mellon University (CMU) in 1985. He was a member and then a Senior Member of Technical Staff at the Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie-Mellon University from August 1986 to July 1998. Since fall 1998, he has been a Professor and then Donald B. Gillis Chair Professor of Computer Science of University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. He was the Chair of IEEE Real Time Systems Technical Committee from 1999-2000 and serves on its Executive Committee Since 2001. Dr. Sha is on the NSF Planning Committee for Cyber Physical Systems. He is involved in many aspects of CPS including being on the Defense Avionics Advisory System. Area(s) of expertise: Cyber Physical Systems, Formalized Reduced Complexity Architecture Patterns, Distributed real-Time fault tolerant computing systems, dynamic real-Time architecture.

Dr. Karen Thole
Dr. Karen Thole is head of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. She holds two degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. After receiving her Ph.D., she spent two years as a post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Thermal Turbomachinery at the Karslruhe Institute of Technology in Germany. Her academic career began in 1994 when she became an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In 1999, she accepted a position in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech where she was promoted to professor in 2003. and was recognized as the William S. Cross Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 2005. In 2006, she was appointed to, and continues to hold, the position of Head of the Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. Thole has published over 190 peer-reviewed archival journal and conference papers and advised over 60 masters theses and doctoral dissertations. She is a Fellow of ASME and serves as the chair of the Board of Directors for the International Gas Turbine Institute. She has been recognized by the U.S. White House as a Champion of Change for her work to involve girls and women in STEM, and was the 2012 recipient of Penn State’s Rosemary Schraer Mentoring Award.

Dr. David Vos
Dr. Vos is currently the team lead for Project Wing at Google [X]. Prior to joining Google [X], Dr. Vos was Senior Director at Rockwell Collins after the acquisition of Athena Technologies – a leading flight control and navigation systems company – in April 2008. Vos was Founder, CTO and CEO of Athena Technologies. Having worked in the unmanned systems industry since its inception, he is a pioneer and a thought leader in the area of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Born in South Africa and now a U.S. citizen, Vos is the inventor and developer of Rockwell Collins Control Technologies core technology. He holds patents in nonlinear control systems and other areas and has broad experience in guidance and control systems. In August of 2007, Vos was appointed by Virginia’s Governor Kaine to Commissioner of the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority’s Board of Commissioners. In June of 2007, Vos was named by Ernst & Young as an Entrepreneur of the Year in the Greater Washington area. Vos holds a B.S. in Engineering with Honors in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, an M.S. in Dynamics and Control from MIT, and a Ph.D. in Estimation and Control from MIT, in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Mr. Tom L. Wood
Mr. Wood is a senior technical fellow in research and engineering at Bell Helicopter Textron, with more than 40 years of experience in the design, development and flight testing of rotary wing vehicles. He has served as Bell’s chief of preliminary design and the chief of aerodynamics and handling qualities. Wood has extensive personal and corporate experience working with NASA at Langley, Ames and Glenn Research Centers. Wood is a technical fellow of the American Helicopter Society International (AHS), and received the 2011 AHS Klemin award for notable achievements in aeronautics.

+ Aeronautics Committee Terms of Reference (TOR)

Upcoming Meeting

March 23, 2016 (NASA HQ, Washington, DC)
+ Agenda

Meeting Agendas and Minutes


+ November 12, 2015 (NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC)
+ July 28, 2015 (JPL, Pasadena, CA)
+ March 26, 2015 (NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC)

+ December 4, 2014 (NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA)
+ July 29, 2014 (Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA)
+ March 27 - March 28, 2014 (NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC)

+ December 3, 2013 (Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA)
+ July 30, 2013 (NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC)
+ February 28 - March 1, 2013 (NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC)

+ October 25-26, 2012 (Cleveland, OH)
+ July 24, 2012 (Greenbelt, MD)

+ October 13, 2011 (NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC)
+ August 2-3, 2011 Meeting
+ April 14, 2011 Meeting
+ January 20-21, 2011 Meeting

+ April 23, 2010 Meeting
+ February 16-17, 2010 Meeting

+ Back to NASA Advisory Council Web Site


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Last Updated: March 18, 2016
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